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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Summer School

Summer School


Picture: B- ††††Sound: B- ††††Extras: D †††Film: B-



It has been years since I saw 1987ís Summer School starring Mark Harmon, and many other then-little-known-people like Kirstie Alley, Courtney Thorne Smith, and Dean Cameron.Upon revisiting the film I was amazed by just how risquť the film was being for its time and I certainly had forgotten this, or maybe it is that some of the contents of this film have matured since.Sure itís a silly teen comedy that involves school (summer school that is), but the script is laced with rude daring jokes and a plethora of questionable gestures and language, which baffled me since it was a PG-13 film.Of course in our modern age we have seen other teen comedies come and go that have stretched the bounds of decency such as American Pie, Road Trip, and Van Wilder, but for 1987 this is pretty cutting edge.


Freddy Shoop (Harmon) is a gym teacher and not a very good one at that, but with the school year coming to an end he is ready for a vacation, but the powers that be within the school district force him to teach a group of delinquents in summer school or else he wonít get his tenure.Forced to comply, he at first takes the job with little seriousness and allows the students to do whatever they want, but once their crazy field trips get out of hand, he must buckle down and make sure that they all pass or else he will be cut from the staff.The tides turn and Mr. Shoop must find a way to educate the students, but will they be as eager to learn, as he is to figure out how to teach?


That is not to say that this film is brilliant, but itís a step up from just standard fare and deserves a second look from anyone who may have blew by it originally, or it might beg for a new audience for those that have not seen the film.Finally available on DVD through Paramount the film contains no extras, but just the basic treatment with a Dolby Digital 5.1 and 1.85 X 1 anamorphic widescreen transfer making it a notch above the VHS from years ago.This is the first time I know of the film being available widescreen and definitely with a new 5.1 mix it should look and sound better than before.While the picture quality is average it is better than Iíve seen before.Colors are muted and detail is lacking overall.Since the film requires little in terms of its visual language, this hardly becomes a problem.


Summer School has some laughs throughout and a nice amount of comic charm even despite its average overall production and its glossed over naÔve aesthetic, but these are well overlooked considering the film never takes itself too seriously to begin with.Give this film a second chance or else you are doomed to repeat 12th Grade!



-†† Nate Goss


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